Life….oh what a funny little joke

I went to buy a card for my best friend who’s wedding had to be cancelled due to covid and I saw one that just said, ‘Life……what a funny little joke’. We have an awesome friendship and in the end I went for a ‘FUCK COVID’ card but this quote stuck with me.

Sometimes life goes really well and others it changes. Sometimes in seconds, others to months. Although this blog isn’t directly related to my adventures and dogs, I hope it does give an insight into what I would class as ‘normal’ life when its impossible to avoid the perfect Instagram lifestyle.

Psychology and Sociology has always been something I’ve taken an interest in. Why people behave in a certain way, how your upbringing, where you live or even what you look like has an effect on your life. I have no formal qualifications in either of these topics, but research and studies have always fascinated me.

I recently saw a post on @wearefeelgoodclub (below) and I loved every single one of the points that it led me to write this blog.

If I rewind back to my early 20’s, I had a well paid job for my age, cheap rent, I was still a student receiving my loans and working full time. To put it bluntly, I had more disposable income at this age than I do now. Should past Caroline done something more worthwhile with this money, probably but there was no chance I was going to. I was obsessed with my image. My nails were changed every couple of weeks, I had new clothes, I went out drinking every weekend (with a new outfit and nails to match) my hair was constantly in the salon. I could go on and on. Now, my point of this blog is not to brag (although it looks like I’m failing miserably right now) but more to demonstrate my change of outlook in life over my 20’s.

In 2011, I decided to make a huge change and I realised I was no longer happy with my life. I was 21 years old and wanted to see the world. That was my ambition in life. After some huge changes, this was exactly what I did. I handed in my notices to the 3 different jobs I had and told my mum my ambition. It took a bit of a discussion and before I knew it me and my mum were sitting in STA travel in Liverpool booking my flights and trip.

Our travelling group on Whitsunday island

This was the trip that changed my life. Seriously. I have never cried so much in an airport before. And as I said goodbye to my mum (both of us in tears) I took 10 minutes to compose myself before heading through security when I was given the best life advice ever by someone. This someone happened to be a 5 year old boy who’s conversation has stayed with me forever. He asked me why I was crying and I replied saying that I had just said goodbye to someone. He asked me if I would see them again, I said yes. And he asked again, ‘why are you crying then?’ By this point, his Mum stepped in to say something but I honestly didn’t have an answer for this little boy. Why was I crying? I eventually replied and said, ‘I think it’s because I’m on my own.’ This little 5 year old boy then gave me the biggest hug around my waist and said, ‘you are never on your own. Ask for help when you need it.’ Safe to say as I was already incredibly emotional, this topped it off and I sat there sobbing for the next however long trying to compose myself.

My travels took me through Dubai, Singapore, Australia and then back via Singapore before arriving home and as much as I would talk all day about my experiences travelling, I’ll save that for another day. Travelling alone meant I was able to do the things I wanted to do. No negotiating with anyone else. I’m incredibly happy in my own company but also have the confidence to talk to others. One thing on my ‘to do’ list was to try and catch a show in the Sydney Opera House. Did I have anyone that wanted to join me, not really no. It wasn’t the cheapest of places and nor did I book weeks or months in advance. So again, as a single person, I was able to grab a ticket last minute and in all honesty in a bloody decent seat! I watched Lakme and loved every second of it. A memory that I can’t describe to anyone, nor can anyone take it away from me.

Sunset on Fraser Island

The night before I was due to leave Sydney, me and couple of others wanted to watch the sunset over the harbour bridge. Majority of my decent clothes were in the wash ready for my travels so I really wasn’t best dressed whatsoever, but who cared? Past me, definitely would have done. Present me wanted to watch that sunset and take it all in. As we sat on the edge of the park watching the sunset, a newly married couple came for some photos. They opened a bottle of champagne, took their photos and then approached us asking if we wanted the bottle of champagne as they were going somewhere else and couldn’t take it with them. Of course we politely accepted. We sat there, watching the sunset, taking turns to have a swig of champagne from this bottle (ahh life pre covid hey?)

I’m hoping my point of creating memories is starting to come to light here…….

I realised on that trip that people didn’t care what you looked like, where you came from or how much money you had. They were interested in you as a person. Were you kind, friendly, non-judgmental. Countless time we bathed in the sea or the lake because quite frankly we didn’t want to miss a second of that sunset, or sunrise or just the most incredible view. Even more so I was learning about how living in the present was a skill I never possessed before.

Those colours though

Upon my return from my travels, I instantly booked in to hairdressers, nail salon, went shopping and tried to immediately return to the person I was prior to my travels. But after the first week, it became very clear that person no longer existed. Fast forward 10 years since this trip and living in the present has become my motto.

We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. So go out, see that friend, go on that adventure, literally do that thing you’ve always wanted to do. Go and have a picnic and leave your phone at home. Take in the different colours of the sky, the shapes of the clouds and the coldness of air through your nose as you breath. Surround yourself with people that don’t care about materialistic things and only care about you as a person. Don’t allow negativity of others to change your path, only unhappy people say negative comments. You never find happy people engaging in negative behaviour. Its true what they say, you feed from the energy that you are around, so choose this wisely.

Some of you may ask where on earth to start. And here’s a few things to reflect on. How often do you post to social media? And why are you posting? Are you posting for your own log? Or are you posting to prove to those followers that you’re successful in life? Who decides what is ‘successful’? These are all questions for you to internally reflect and think about. I actually don’t have a personal social media account. I have Winston’s account and that’s it. Do I feel significantly better for it, hell yes. Someone showed me a photo of someone a while back and I had to ask who it was. They didn’t believe me when I didn’t know. I asked what effect that person had on my life? Why did they need to be involved in my life? What benefits did they bring? Turned out it was one of the Kardashians but those questions were still unanswered.

How often do you find yourself scrolling? And what are you scrolling for? Do you find yourself questioning why they have a better house/car/lifestyle than you? Is there something more beneficial you could do in the time you spend scrolling? Instagram has the great feature to unfollow and mute. I would advise using them and making social media a positive happy place for you to be. Mine is full of happy fluffy dogs, positive quotes and unedited people….winner.

All of this of course takes time and the art of not caring what others think is, in my opinion, one of the greatest skills to have. Although I could continue writing about amazing it is to feel the cold on your body as you head for a wild swim, I’m going to leave you with this live IGTV by Em Clarkson (who I am able to answer those earlier questions on) and would recommend anyone to watch it who has a spare half hour.

Let me know what your thoughts are about your experiences, social media and where you sit in all of this. And as always, be nice. Debating is possible without turning it into personal attacks!